MATRIXSYNTH: Siel DK80 1985 Polyfonic Analog Synth SN 001594

Friday, March 09, 2018

Siel DK80 1985 Polyfonic Analog Synth SN 001594

via this auction

The listing features this demo video from 2014.

"Great sounding Italian synth from 1985 in very good shape.
Bi-timbral, parafonic, dynamic (!), with a simple, easily programmable sequencer, and stereo outputs, 39 bi-timbral presets and 10 saveable sounds, the DK80 is somewhat similar to Korg Poly800 / 61 but with something those synths lack: full Midi implementation, which really is it's strongest selling point.
Comes with a sturdy case and original manual.
220 V version, but with it's massive power adapter, can run on 110 as well.
The power supply is notoriously prone to break downs, but it has been fixed recently, the synth itself recapped by Franco Avona in Milan, vintage gear specialist.
The rubber buttons work perfectly, this keyboard has seen very little action.

It was just featured in an article here on Reverb: 5 Underrated 80's Polysynths, quote:

Its greatest strength is its surprising array of modulation possibilities. There are independent 6-point envelopes for both VCA and VCF and separate LFOs for VCO and VCF modulation. This means that in "double" mode with two programs stacked, you can create complex, evolving pads with four very long envelopes and four delayable LFOs unfolding at the same time.

While the programming interface is admittedly one of the worst possible, requiring you to type in the number of the parameter you want to edit and then use arrow buttons to change its value, another surprising strength of this synth is its excellent MIDI implementation. Unlike almost any other polysynth of its era, the DK-80 offers full CC-control of all parameters, meaning you can set it up with a knobby MIDI controller like the Behringer BCR-2000 or the DAW of your choice to program it much more fluidly.

Tech Notes: Like its Korg counterparts, the Siel DK-80 is paraphonic, meaning that it has only one filter and VCF envelope per program. You can set the envelope to either retrigger on every note or continue to progress until every key is released. This latter option allows for some nice possibilities, like a long filter sweep unfolding over the course of a run of arpeggiated notes.

One of the DK-80’s most powerful and unusual quirks comes from the order of the signal path inside the synth. Most subtractive synths pass the signal from the oscillators through the VCF before the VCA, meaning the VCA envelope is the "final authority" on whether and how your signal is audible at the output.

The DK-80, however, uses a single monolithic chip to generate the tones for all notes simultaneously and also provide the VCAs for all voices. So the signal passes through the VCAs first, then is summed with the output of the noise generator and sent through the filter. This allows you to have filter artifacts, noise, and filter self-oscillation extending beyond when the VCA "closes" on the oscillators, allowing for some really interesting, abstract soundscape work and entirely nonmusical, textural ambient effects like rustling leaves, watery bubbles, and whistling winds."

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